September was another month of growth for a variety of retail sectors, including the purchasing of groceries, according to new Census Bureau figures.

According to the bureau’s estimates for retail and food service sales, overall retail sales were up 0.7% in September from August and 13.9% higher year-over-year. While both figures show growth, the increases were smaller than the 0.9% monthly growth and 15.4% annual increase reported in August. According to an analysis by the National Retail Federation, while there have been “occasional month-over-month declines, sales have grown year-over-year every month since June 2020, according to census data.”

An NRF release argued the results show concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant “pushed consumer spending toward merchandise rather than services.”

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“The reopening of the economy was interrupted by COVID-19 and consumer spending other than retail hit a speed bump toward the end of summer,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Overall, the September report is very promising for a strong finish for the year. Nonetheless, rising inflation and slower supply chains remain a concern. Spending might have been higher if not for shortages of items consumers are eager to purchase.”

According to the report, grocery and beverage stores saw 0.7% higher month-over-month seasonally adjusted returns; unadjusted year-over-year returns were up 7.4%. “Food services and drinking places” were up 29.5% over September 2020 figures.

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